The Richard Pryor Show-Volume 1 (1977)

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Released 29-Nov-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Additional Footage-Never Aired Original Series Opening
Additional Footage-Cold Open: Camel Love, Chimp Symphony
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1977
Running Time 98:46
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By John Moffitt
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Richard Pryor
Robin Williams
Sandra Bernhard
Thalmus Rasulala
Juanita Moore
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.29:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Following Richard Pryor's TV special, he was contracted to star in a ten show series for NBC, which eventually ran foul of network executives and censors and finished after four episodes. These are released on two separate discs.

    Volume 1 of the TV series includes the first two episodes. I can see why the show did not run its full course. Apart from the pushing of the envelope as regards content, it simply isn't funny enough. Episode one has some funny sequences, such as the Star Wars Bar and the Clint Eastwood send-ups, one of which hinges on the meaning of the word "ass", which must have sent shivers up the spine of NBC executives in 1977. The rest of this episode is loud, forced or just plain unfunny. The lengthy Satin Doll sketch seems to be a frame for some live performers, but just comes across as pretentious. Episode two has some amusing bits, the best of which has Pryor as an African sage.

    Much is made on the cover of the presence of Robin Williams and Sandra Bernhard. Neither has much to do in either episode, and this was before either of them were well known. In fact, in the spoken list of guests during the closing credits only Williams is mentioned, and then only at the end of the list in Episode Two. Each show also has one well-known black actor as a guest, being Thalmus Rasulala and Juanita Moore respectively. Noted character actor Jeff Corey appears in both episodes.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The aspect ratio is the original 1.29:1.

    The transfer is about average for 1970s television material. This is a transfer from NTSC to PAL and consequently the video quality suffers. The show was recorded on video, not film, so the lesser resolution of NTSC means a slight lack of clarity and sharpness. On the other hand, it is bright and clean-looking, and contrast levels are good. The colour is reflective of the video technology of the era, looking vivid but not up to the standard of film.

    There are some analogue video tracking errors from time to time. There is also some colour bleeding and cross-colouration, though the effect of these is minor. Some flaring is also noticeable on the studio lights or where they are reflected by jewellery.

    No subtitles are provided on this single-layered disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is only one audio track, in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

    The audio is pretty good considering the source material. Dialogue is generally clear. There were a few instances where I strained to understand some of the words, but this seems to be due to either poor recording or unclear diction on the part of the performers. In the sketch about Mojo the Healing Man, Pryor's dialogue is almost indecipherable much of the time.

    The same sort of 1970s funky-style music as on the TV Special is included here. There are also a couple of musical interludes. In the first episode we see the Satin Doll performance, with The O-Jays appearing in the second.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Introduction

    The main menu is displayed with a brief video of the star, taken from the original introduction to episode one. This promo did not make it to air, but is included as an extra on this disc.

Additional Footage-Never Aired Original Series Opening (1:03)

    This is a funny prologue to the first episode mentioned above where Pryor explains that he has not had to compromise his integrity to appear on TV, but... You can see why this didn't make it to air, US TV being what it is.

Additional Footage-Cold Open: Camel Love, Chimp Symphony (6:59)

    Two segments that did not go to air. The first is a series of rehearsals for a sketch involving Pryor and a camel in bed, the second has him dressed up as a maestro conducting a small orchestra. The picture quality is not very good.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This appears to be a direct port of the Region 1 release, judging by the presence of the Image Entertainment logo on the back. It seems that this disc is only available as part of a three-disc box set in Region 1, while in Region 4 each of the discs is available separately and there is no box set. The only difference between these releases seems to be DVD- ROM content comprising unfilmed scripts, which Region 4 misses out on. Unless you really want this material, or want the slipcase, or want to see the material in the original NTSC, there is no reason to bypass the Region 4 release.

Summary

    Some variable comedy from one of the great stand-up performers out of his element.

    The video quality is average.

    The audio quality is average.

    The extras are relevant but not especially enlightening.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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